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Magome (”nāÄ) is a former post town in the Kiso Valley, which served travelers of the Nakasendo, a major route that connected Tokyo with Kyoto during the feudal ages.

The town has been beautifully restored with a broad stone walkway lined with wooden buildings and carefully tended foliage. Magome's embellished preservation contrasts with the rugged authenticity of neighboring Tsumago. The two towns are connected by the Magome-Tsumago Trail, a route which was part of the Nakasendo.

While exploring Magome, visitors will surely come across the name Shimazaki Toson. Born in Magome in 1872, Toson is a highly regarded figure in Japanese literature. In his novel Yoakemae (Before the Dawn), he famously describes life in the area around the years of the Meiji Restoration. Its often quoted first line reads "The whole of the Kisoji lies in the mountains".

Honjin/Toson Memorial Museum

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (until 16:00 from December to March)
Closed: Wednesdays from December to February
Admission: 500 yen

Wakihonjin Museum

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Closed: irregular closures
Admission: 300 yen

Tsuchimaya Shiryokan

Hours: 9:00 to 18:00
Closed: irregular closures in winter
Admission: 200 yen

Shimizuya Shiryokan

Hours: 8:00 to 17:00 (8:30 to 16:30 from December to March)
Closed: irregular closures
Admission: 300 yen

Getting there and around

Magome is a 30 minute bus ride from JR Nakatsugawa Station (570 yen one way), the closest train station. Buses depart roughly once an hour (see timetable).

Magome can also be reached in about a 20 minute walk from the Magome highway bus stop, which is located in the Misaka parking area along the Chuo Expressway.

Nearby Tsumago can be reached from Magome by infrequent direct buses (see timetable) or by following the Magome-Tsumago Hiking Trail.

How to get to and around the Kiso Valley